Gong - Live In Paris - Bataclan 73

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The ultimate 70’s CULT ALBUMS for collectors with the "Vinyl Replica" deluxe re-issue!

Those limited editions includes all the essentials Gong ingredients… The prime line up: Daevid allen’s guitar rhythms and pixie chant, Gilli Smythe’s space whisper, Tim Blake’s slowburn Crystal machines, Steve hillage’s sinuous glissando guitar, Mike Howlett’s stellar guitar, Pierre Moerlen’s lush percussion and Didier Malherbe’s cosmic sax!

Gong at its best needed time to leisurely build to aching crescendos that maintained lengthy peak level! Two masterpieces of Captain Capricorn’s band: GONG live in Paris (Bataclan) Gong Live Sheffield (UK)!

The most hypnotic performances of Daevid Allen’s band are now available as Vynil Replica! The first ever and complete re-issue of thoss famous Gong’s tour! Two essentials albums of Planet Gong history!

THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN CAPRICORN

Remember, Radio-Gnome Invisible, The Flying Teapots, Pot-Head-Pixies and other octave doctors…That was him.

Daevid Allen, the Capricorn Captain, creator of GONG, one of the most fertile musical groups of the 70's is back, after a 10-year absence.

Following the separation and dispersion of the group in 1978, under mysterious and upsetting conditions, David went to the United States, then to native Australia. There, he lived daily with the two most extreme currents of earthly civilization…the Aborigines of the north, and the "New Age People" of Byron Bay. He also met lots of kangaroos, anti-guru spiritual leaders, poets, musicians and women, with whom he currently forms "The Invisible Company of Tibet." They practice, in stages, the "Zero Initiation" experience of group energy and re-birthing in England, and soon in France.

Will we one day see a GONG reunion on a Parisian stage? After such a long silence, the first interview with Daevid Allen in France was ours.

Monday, March 7th: a London apartment in Earls Court

It is Daevid, himself, who opens the door. He has matured, but is exploding with youth. No one could imagine he will celebrate his 50th birthday this year. His short, blonde hair has become silver and grey, but his blue eyes are still luminous, and his smile malicious. His approach is most warm. We hug with emotion, and the 10-year absence has disappeared, to leave place for an infinite present. We left each other yesterday, in 1978, and here we are in 1989, with a thousand questions, and a thousand responses, at heart and on the tips of our tongues. A new cycle has begun.

  • Daevid, why, when it seemed that everything you were doing was a success, did you decide to put an end to the GONG experience?
  • I always had a very particular conception of music. From my point of view, there is no point in making popular music simply for personal glory or financial reasons. That's not enough for me. I need a higher goal. I need to feel that somehow I help make a sociological change, an evolution of the human species. If I don't have, or no longer have this feeling, I have no reason to continue! When GONG started to become famous, especially in England, with the release of the Virgin albums, lots of people came to us, and above all professionals whose primary motivation was money and power. The effect of that was to divide the group in two, with one side attracted to the money and drugs (there were even some who proposed to pay us with a suitcase full of cocaine!), and another side who shared my vision of things, and believed we should stay as clear and "clean" as possible, in order to be as effective as possible, on the path we had chosen. Though I, myself, had experimented with drugs, with the rest of the group, I thought at this point that they had become illusory and detrimental to our action. One must know that, invisibly, drugs open windows and even pierce holes in the magnetic bodies of human beings. The individual no longer has control of the energies that penetrate these breeches, and so this becomes dangerous. During this time, we played concerts before thousands of people. The power of music is huge, and one must know how to control it. Because of drugs, we no longer had total control of the energy, which transformed from positive into negative. I sometimes had surrealistic and horrific visions of an audience resembling a Bosch painting: angelic, then suddenly demonic! Whether this was subjective or objective, it was my reality, and I felt heavy materialistic energies passing through the music at that time. For my part, I wanted to maintain a level of high energy, and elevate the sensitivity of the people who listened to us. Music is a power. I was the channel that transmitted it, but I was no longer capable of using it as it was supposed to be. As I ardently desired to use this power correctly, the only thing to do was to extract myself from this situation. That's what I did, hoping to find the time and place where I would learn the correct use of this incredible musical power. I thus decided to break the contract with Virgin Records, and left for Deya, in the Balearic Islands, where I had a small house. While there, I had a very strong interior experience through meditation, which seemed to tell me that if I stayed very pure for several years, I might create a new sort of acoustic and electronic music, which would be a new departure for me. Hence, I began a difficult simplicity.

The voyage to the end of the night

After a last "GONG Reunion" at the Hippodrome in Paris, I played a few concerts with "floating anarchy," destroying, little by little, the elitist image of the rock star, and finally arriveing at the complete sabotage of myself and my impact in the media. Another brief tour around the USA, where I continued to completely disintegrate my being, and hence began what I call "the dark night of the soul." All my connections were interrupted, all my masters disappeared. This became so somber, that there was nothing left for me to do, except leave for Australia, back home, toward my roots. I arrived just in time to see my father die.

I had left Australia at the age of 21. I came back at 42. Always cycles of seven years. I left for Australia to die and be reborn. I was on the brink of suicide when my son Toby was born (he's now six). I have two other sons with my first companion, Gilli Smyth, Tali and Orlando, who are 15 and 13, respectively. This was a sign from the sky that gave me hope and the force to continue. A new dawn pointed to the horizon.

Rebirth in Australia, Land of the new age

I went to live alone in the mountains, where I composed "Drones," 7 continuous notes corresponding with the 7 chakras (invisible energy centers of the human body), a specific music, useful to meditation and awareness. Next, I met Jo Mariaty, an American who taught re-birthing, or "CCB" (Conscious Connected Breath). Rebirthing, developed in the United States by Leonard Orr is a process which, by way of a very particular breathing technique (hyper-ventilation), allows an adult to come into contact with the trauma of his, sometimes painful, birth – allowing for a transmutation into a generating experience.

This was, for me, an extraordinary experience, and I started to study with Jo Moriaty, in order to become a "rebirther" myself - an expert in this technique that I practice and teach today in Europe.

Shortly thereafter, I heard about a woman arriving from Hawaii, who had been initiated at the School of Mysteries of Himalaya. I have always been impassioned by the esoteric tradition, which is the system hidden behind the structure of all religions, the background to the frame, if you will, the spring from which everything flows. I left, then, to study with this woman, Loy Young, intensively for 2 months. I learned with her how to use music in relation with the esoteric teachings, and began to understand how this power would be put to work gently. Loy and Robert Young also taught me to direct workshops on group energy, based on the opening of the being in mutual confidence and the feeling of total security and equality. The importance is to create a climate of security and confidence, for when you are confident, you open yourself and can, thus, receive.

As for me, I had finally found what I was searching for. I felt ready. I began to write new music and songs, looking forward to my return back OM. I lived, then, at Byron Bay, one of the areas on the entire planet most implicated in the New Age Movement at that time. It was a marvelous place, situated on the eastern point of Australia, facing the California coast. For 3 or 4 years it had become a center, where many people coming from California and elsewhere were reunited. Almost everyone was a therapist of body and soul, experimenting with New Age ideas and techniques. There was also an Institute of Studies of communications with dolphins.

A very pointed conscience of New Age culture developed all around the Pacific Ocean (Australia, California, Japan, Polynesia…), considered as one of the still as yet unpolluted oceans, charged with intense vibrations of well-being (even its name is a symbol of peace).

Aborigines

  • Have you ever had occasion to meet the Australian Aborigine, and how did they react to the shocks of civilization?
  • Of course, I have met them often. I have been quite far to the interior of the North, where they live. I have also known Aborigine poets and musicians in Melbourne and Sydney. The problem with Australian Aborigines is that their civilization is so ancient…so ancient. They are, doubtless, the last example of the very first human race on the planet. Because of that, I don't think they can be truly integrated into the new country that Australia is becoming. They can be respected, and if possible, understood, but the difference is so huge between these two opposite poles of civilization, that it provokes conflicts, and inextricable misunderstandings. I don't know what the solution is. I have participated in public discussions with Aboriginal leaders. The dialog is difficult, in the sense that they consider, by being white, I am responsible for what my grandparents did. I told them, "I do not want to be in any way associated with what my grandparents may have done, and if they saw me now, they would kill me before you. They consider me more illegal than you!" But for the Aborigines, this reasoning incomprehensible. They have a direct and simple knowledge. For them, family is an indivisible entity. They and their ancestors are one and the same. They couldn't rebel against their ancestor, or if they did, they would die. Throughout the country, Aborigines who try to live like whites, die of alcoholism or commit suicide in prison. Just before leaving Australia, one of my close Aborigine friends, a brilliant poet and fantastic musician, committed suicide, and that was a tragedy. For me, there was no difference between us except race. While my opportunities were great, his were very limited. But, in terms of talent, he could have easily taken my place, and even done better than me.
  • Are Aborigines mistreated in Australia?

The conservatives, or "Red Necks" are very aggressive toward the Aborigines. One can speak about an Australian "Deep North" like we speak of the "Deep South" of the United States. In those territories, the police treat them very poorly, and horrible stories make the rounds. In any case, when the English arrived in Australia two centuries ago, they killed so many Aborigines that there are very few left now. They have very little chance of survival. However, today, I observe a very curious phenomenon. Many young Australians, who we call "White Aborigines," go to live in the forest, trying to learn and to save as many of the secrets of this disappearing civilization as possible. It is said that certain black Aborigines are "reincarnated" in white bodies, in order to continue the tradition. It's a bit difficult for skeptics to believe, but skeptics don't believe anything, anyway! (smiles).

I know a man, whom I consider my brother. He is called Burnam Burnam, the only Aborigine who has studied the profession of lawyer. But the whites were so afraid of him, they never authorized him to receive his official diploma. He is very cultivated, and understands western thought very well. At the same time, he has total access to Aborigine traditions. In fact, he is a tribal king. He could have been the king of Melbourne, but the leadership of the Aborigines does not follow him either. Thus, even if someone has the capacity to bridge the divide, he is attacked and misunderstood by factions, white and black. He came to England a few months ago. He erected an Aborigine flag at Dover, and declared, "I have come to proclaim England as my territory!" He had a large media success! Together, we have projected to go into the desert to study the lines of telluric forces. Actually, in the heart of the Australian desert, there is an extremely powerful point, called "Ayers Rock." This point is considered by the esoterics of the world as the basic chakra and energetic center of the planet, where its "Kundalini (Rainbow Snake, or vital energy) is entwined.

Harmonic Convergence

  • I know that you have always been very active regarding the planetary and cosmic manifestations. Where are you on that these days?

Absolutely, the future of the planet and of humanity is something that preoccupies me – and rightly so, it seems. Two years ago, the world over, a "Harmonic Convergence" ceremony took place. Thousands of people meditated together at a precise time, corresponding with a particular astrologic configuration. This sounded the bell on a re-evolved era, and the beginning of a new cosmic calendar. There were lots of predictions in ancient times, about this date in 1987. One of them said that if at least 144 000 people meditated on this day, a new level of consciousness would be taught on the planet. As far as I know, that number was largely surpassed. In Australia, the impact was huge. I was one of those meditating, and in the weeks that followed, mysterious and positive events occurred for me, which culminated in my arrival in England. The 13th of February 1988 was also a decisive day. We had proceeded with an "Earth Link," a sort of mini harmonic convergence, whose goal was to connect Ayers Rock in Australia, with Glastonberry in England. Glastonberry, where GONG participated in many cosmic music festivals, is also a very strong telluric point, considered as the "heart chakra" of the planet. It was midnight in Glastonberry when we got together to meditate, and it was very cold. In contrast, it was very hot at Ayers Rock, where the other group was assembled. One of the principal reasons for my coming to Europe, to link these two extremely important places, and, little by little, awaken the meridians of the planet, in order to help her breathe correctly again. The planet has been very sick lately, and obviously, testing bombs in the Pacific Ocean is the best way to give her a pretty violent stomachache! (laughs).

Meditation Music

  • Musically, what direction have you taken these last years?

In Australia, I had occasion to play with aboriginal musicians. They make a very primitive music; but very powerful. They have an instrument called the Didgeridoo, which a bit resembles the Tibetan horns. It is a wind instrument, made from a long tree branch. The sound is low and deep. I used it in one of my "Drones" (continuous sounds), the one relative to the first chakra, and corresponding with the musical note "do," or "C" in occidental tablature. It is the sound of Ayers Rock, in relation to the primary energies, the roots of the earth, and the human being. The six other Drones (Ré, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si) or (D, E, F, G, A, B) correspond with the other chakras. Instruments, sounds and timbres are specific. We know that each note of a scale corresponds with a color of the rainbow, scents, psychological attributes, feeling, waves, frequencies…So, if everything in the universe vibrates, everything has a frequency, so everything is linked with notes and music. This is where the unlimited power comes from, as well as the possibilities it generates – in the curative domain, for example. I recorded a cassette for each of these "Drones," which will be a precious aid to meditation.

Zero Initiation Workshops

  • What exactly is a Zero Initiation Workshop?
  • They are intensive group situations that last around 60 hours, from Friday to Sunday. These courses require a comfortable and well-arranged place (like the New-Age Center), where the participants can live together continuously throughout this period. At the beginning the attendees are invited to express their goals and what they would like to achieve during the workshop. In 80% of the cases, they go beyond what they had hoped for. That is what the power of group energy allows. It is a rapid and concentrated "hot house" evolution. It is an experience that must be live, as it's difficult to describe. I direct these sessions with Wandana, my new companion, but there are no "gurus." We call this "leadership through equality for the new age." In the coming period, we will all be leaders, with equally shared responsibilities. It serves no purpose to reclaim a higher authority. We have to start, here and now, to act by ourselves, following our intuition more than our logic. It is a question of choice, and we are responsible for our choices. We can choose to be powerful and optimistic, or impotent and desperate. These group therapies include 'Re-Birthing" sessions, whose goal is to finish, once-and-for-all, with the trauma and conditioning of the past – to be reborn. Many Americans and Australians are already familiar with these ideas. We are going to develop them in Europe. Wandana and I would like to organize as many workshops as possible, and teach others how to do it. I can only recommend to whomever is interested, to come find us.
  • How does it work financially?
  • The cost is variable, depending on the possibilities of each person.

Projects

  • What is "The Invisible Company of Tibet"?
  • It's the name of my current group. For the moment there are 6 of us, including one woman, Wandana, who sings and plays the Indian harmonium. Didier Malherbe joins us on sax and flutes, as well as Sheymel Maitra on the tables and percussion, Harry Williamson on the guitar, and Graham on the electric violin. For my part, I have some new songs, and of course, the slide guitar. The atmosphere coming from our music is directly related to that of the workshops.

I envision renewing with Steve Hillage as producer, as he is having much success recently in this domain (he has produced many good albums, including one from Cock Robin), and with Didier Malherbe in France. I would like to organize small formations, which will remain groups of "inspired amateurs," rather than show-biz virtuosos. It is my opinion that this is the only way to keep the music's inspiration and direction, which, as I said, is to transmit to the public a maximum of positive and regenerative vibrations. The music will bring people to the workshops, as much as the workshops can lead to music. Everything is open. It's a new adventure. We work with those who, like us, are directed to the future.

  • Do you foresee a GONG reunion with all the musicians who participated in the group in the 70's?
  • Actually, that would be fun. We could do one concert a year, in Paris, like the group Fairport Convention, who reunite annually at Oxford. Yes, it would be fantastic to have an annual GONG Festival!

When I created GONG, everyone wanted to talk to me about Soft Machine. Today, everyone talks to me about GONG. Maybe in 10 years, they'll ask me about having an Invisible Company of Tibet reunion! Ten years later, it'll be the Nuclear Mystery Temple Reunion, then they'll ask about The Music of Silence, and I'll just say "Shhh…"

Interview by Jessica Checler Article translated from original French to English by Ron Sorter

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